How Much Value Would an In-Law Apartment Add to a House?

An in-law suite that complements the home adds value.

An in-law suite that complements the home adds value.

An in-law apartment, also called an in-law suite or secondary suite, gives your home extra living quarters as an attachment to the house, a separate dwelling on the property or addition over a garage. Aside from the additional space, the unit can increase the value of your home if it fits in nicely with the home's original architecture. A pleasing or aesthetic addition makes the house attractive to prospective home buyers.

Harmony and Difference

When the addition works in harmony with the rest of the home, it can improve the building’s appearance. The add-on could look wonderful by itself, but it could also accentuate the age of the rest of the home. A very modern addition can make the older sections of your home look less appealing in comparison. Likewise, an inexpensive addition could leave a negative impression on home buyers. A separate living facility needs to comply with the architecture and design of the rest of the home.

Home Buyers Looking

Home buyers were willing to pay extra for a basement and an in-law suite, according to a survey of more than 2,000 households by the National Association of Realtors between 2010 and 2012. The survey reveals 20 percent of the buyers would pay nearly $3,000 more for an in-law addition. A 2013 cost value analysis by Remodeling magazine found that master suite additions for mid-range projects of $101,873 added a resale value of $64,390 to the home. Projects that cost about $220,000 added $114,569 to the resale value. The value could increase with time, but note that most additions added a little over half the cost of the addition to the resale value.

Multi-Generational Homes

The trend continues to be toward adding square footage to homes. RealtyTimes points out that today’s average homes are nearly double in size compared to 50 or 60 years ago. In-law additions are on the rise because of the aging population and interest in multi-generational homes. Many home buyers look for homes that could include rooms for their aging parents as a way to avoid assisted living facilities. This idea has been increasing for people in their 20s and 30s looking for such additions in recent years.

Income Potential

The resale value of your home depends on economic and real estate market conditions. However, an addition of an in-law suite also offers the possibility of additional income for rentals. The separate home should include kitchen and bathroom for value. An in-law apartment doesn’t necessarily have to be for relatives. In order to make the home attractive to renters and prospective home buyers, the suite should have the ability to be closed and locked to the rest of the home for privacy. Easy accessibility to the separate unit, as well as handicapped accessibility, improves the appearance of the independent living space and increases the value.


About the Author

Jerry Shaw writes for Spice Marketing and LinkBlaze Marketing. His articles have appeared in Gannett and American Media Inc. publications. He is the author of "The Complete Guide to Trust and Estate Management" from Atlantic Publishing.

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